Weekly World News Recurring SubjectsADDPMP568
The Weekly World News was a tabloid which published mostly fictional “news” stories in the United States from 1979 to 2007, renowned for its outlandish cover stories often based on supernatural or paranormal themes and an approach to news that verged on the satirical. It ceased print publication in August 2007. The company has a library of 100,000 articles and 300+ original characters.
Main article: Bat Boy (character)
Bat Boy was first featured in a 1992 issue after being found in a cave in West Virginia (Lost World Caverns). He has since led police on a high-speed chase, fought in the war on terror, led the troops to capture Saddam Hussein, bitten Santa Claus, and traveled into outer space. In 2000, he gave his endorsement to Al Gore. It was foretold that Bat Boy would become president in 2028.
Another subject often tackled by WWN is the reemergence of many prominent figures believed to be deceased, including Hank Williams, Marilyn Monroe, John F. Kennedy, Adolf Hitler, and Michael Jackson. Survivors of the Titanic and Hindenburg were also occasionally featured. Among the most frequently printed reports were those asserting that “Elvis is alive.”
THE WORLD’S FATTEST…
Numerous stories regarding shockingly obese people and animals made the pages of WWN, the most popular of which was Tonya, the world’s fattest cat. After Tonya was first discovered, WWN encouraged readers to send in their guesses as to exactly how much they believed Tonya weighed. Weighing in at over 80 lbs., Tonya was featured being adopted, and possibly sat on, by the world’s fattest woman. Later stories involved Tonya’s attempts to lose weight through the “Catkins” diet, her struggle with anorexia, and claims that she had been eaten by the world’s thinnest woman. Other stories featured the exploits of the world’s fattest couple at the gym, the world’s fattest baby, and even a similar weight-guessing contest featuring the world’s fattest dog. One continuing story featured a morbidly obese man named Buster Simcus who had lost so much weight that it left 80 pounds of loose skin hanging off his body that he was planning to have surgically removed. By the next story, he had regained the weight, severely damaging his scars.
UPCOMING ECONOMIC DEPRESSIONS
WWN covered stories that featured analysis of a coming Great Depression in the immediate future in which many prominent celebrities, politicians, and icons of business would become penniless. The cover story of the June 6, 2005, issue warned that the second Great Depression was “just weeks away.” Because of this, Texas oil tycoons were planning to flee to Luxembourg, the only country to survive this economic crash. Consequences of this depression would include mass starvation, a disease epidemic, mobs of looters and a return to pagan religions and Satanism.
Another typical Weekly World News topic was new Bible-related findings, including relics from Noah’s Ark, the Garden of Eden (claimed by the tabloid to be in Colorado), the discovery of additional commandments from God, and sandals worn by Jesus. The magazine also reported on when Jesus will return to Earth, and held an interview with Sisyphus when he finished his eternal boulder-hauling “workout.” Other stories stated that natural disasters such as earthquakes and human economic activity like drilling for oil have opened up gates and portals to Hell from which demons have escaped to wreak havoc upon the earth. A story shortly after September 11, 2001 showed the face of Satan appearing in a cloud of dust caused by the collapse of the World Trade Center. Similar stories, wherein Satan’s face had appeared in a thunderstorm, had appeared before.
Following the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001, WWN featured articles about plans for future terrorist attacks on the United States of America. A 2004 cover story described plans by Kim Jong-il to eventually invade and conquer the United States. Other stories featured profiles on the location and nature of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, including the news that Saddam Hussein had an arsenal of giant slingshots, the missing link, and dinosaurs. In 2003, a series of articles profiled the ongoing relationship between and eventual marriage of Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden. Other stories have made claims that Bin Laden is actually a dwarf, that he recruited a cloned Adolf Hitler to join Al Qaeda, and that he is in fact dead and that the CIA is keeping it a secret. Since being captured by Bat Boy, Saddam has been humiliated by female prison guards, won the United States lottery, and even demanded that the government pay for his sex change operation.
WWN has often been the home to political satire regarding current and past presidential administrations. The magazine reported that the founding fathers were all gay and that George Washington and Abraham Lincoln were actually women. According to the paper, President Lincoln was insane, and his ghost had also been spotted in the White House giving President George W. Bush advice on the war in Iraq. Stories about President George W. Bush capitalized on the public’s perception that he lacked intelligence. The paper chronicled his plans to run for pope, his love affair with Janet Reno, and his intention to nominate Yoda as secretary of defense. The June 21, 2004, issue stated that Vice President Dick Cheney was actually a robot and that his frequent trips to the hospital allowed him to rewire his circuits.
Aliens are another subject frequently tackled by WWN. Weekly World News blamed these creatures for holes in the ozone. A Roswell crash survivor, “Altair Bob,” made contact with WWN via telepathic e-mail. Several factions of extraterrestrials have been using the moon to dump garbage. Martians have been monitoring the Mideast crisis. Warrior aliens have been resurrecting the dead, fighting Bigfoot, and training in a mock U.S. town hidden in Antarctica. San Franciscans have opened their hearts to immigrants from Mercury.
Cryptids and half-animal half-human hybrids are another frequent topic of Weekly World News. Creatures such as Bigfoot, merpeople, real-life catwomen, half-alligator half-humans, frog babies, kangaroo women, and many other creatures have taken the world by storm on various covers (e.g. Abominable Beachman strikes terror in Hawaii! and Bigfoot Steals Race Car!!!!) including the aforementioned ‘Bat Boy’.
The existence of mermen and mermaids is also frequently reported in the pages of the Weekly World News. One detailed article recounted a mermaid being caught in a fishing net off the coast of Florida on April 17, 2004. According to the article, she was at least half human, very sociable, and extremely intelligent; and was able to talk in a sophisticated “three dimensional language” that depends heavily on noises that could possibly be connected to the “click languages” prevalent in parts of Africa and on hand movements that look like sign language. Similar to their female counterparts, mermen are found within the pages of the Weekly World News. On June 17, 2003, a merman was reported to have been caught in the South Pacific, this one measuring only 28 inches.